The quick action from a member of the Superior Fire Department helped to save a home on Thursday, Jan. 26. Calvin Berry was driving by a home on the east side of Superior near Mineral Community Hospital when he noticed smoke coming from inside.
He notified the fire department and two fire trucks responded to the scene at 10:18 a.m. After he had checked inside for animals and people, Berry was instructed by Fire Chief Rob Torrey to close the doors in order to contain the flames.
“Keeping windows and door shut in the case of a fire helps to contain it,” he said. “Sometimes people think that opening a window or door helps, but just the opposite is true. If there’s a sudden influx of oxygen, the fire will immediately grow.”
Nobody was home and no pets were found inside. The fire fighters managed to extinguish the flames within the hour and no injuries were reported.
Upon investigation, it was found that a basket of laundry was too close to an infrared heater and caught fire according to Torrey.
The home was split-level and burned the laundry room and extended into the attic space. The upper level sustained fire and smoke damage. The lower level also had smoke damage. The couple who owned the home were gone when the fire broke out. The woman had taken her dogs to the groomers, and didn’t expect to be gone very long. The man was at work when the incident took place.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration space heaters cause one-third of home heating fires and four out of five home heating fire deaths. Safety tips to avoid fire include leaving a three foot distance between the heater and items such as curtains, furniture, drapes and bedding. Also, never place a heater near water or on top of furniture.
Children should never be left unattended near a space heater and the cord should be placed in a way that prevents tripping. However, cords should not be placed under rugs or carpets. Torrey commented that heat can accumulate in appliance cords and they should be unplugged when not in use.
The safest way to use a space heater is to not leave it unattended. Also getting heaters with timers helps to prevent fires.